A man and woman were rescued yesterday morning after their 47ft yacht was blown onto rocks in Swanage

A man and woman were rescued on Monday after their 47ft yacht was blown onto rocks in Swanage, Dorset.

Stockbroker Paul Compton (42) and his girlfriend, Hannah Gutteridge (33), had been returning to Lymington after a night at Lulworth Cove when their new £250,000 Beneteau, Wellworthy, hit rocks off Anvil Point. They managed to put out a Mayday, but issued no further information, forcing Portland and Solent Coastguards to locate an approximate position with VHF direction-finding equipment. The Mayday relay was picked up by high-speed ferry Condor Vitesse, which diverted to the area and launched a rescue boat to pinpoint the casualties.

Swanage inshore lifeboat arrived at the scene, where the couple was found clinging to rocks. While the all-weather lifeboat stood by, the lifeboat RIB approached the rocks using a veering-down technique, which involves anchoring and using the throttles to reverse close to the shore. ‘This is something we practise a lot,’ said lifeboat mechanic Dave Turnbull. ‘When a wave comes in you back off the power to keep the boat steady while the anchor keeps the boat head to sea.’

Mr Compton managed to jump onto the RIB, while Miss Gutteridge, who was not confident enough to attempt the manoeuvre, was airlifted to the clifftop. Fortunately neither were hurt, but the yacht, which had been repeatedly pounded on the rocks, was beyond salvage.

Coastguard watch manager Jim Anderson said ‘We were able to find this vessel by utilizing our equipment and the assistance of other vessels in the area. In any distress situation, time is important. If this yacht had DSC radio fitted, interfaced with GPS, they could have used the distress button to call for help, which would have given us their position, saving valuable minutes.’

Photo: Swanage Lifeboat